Chapter 17

Image result for the ritz paris imperial suite

The hours and hours of ocean stretching out endlessly below our flight that afternoon is slightly disheartening because the view doesn’t give me any clues about where we may be headed. I’ve tried fishing for information but the only thing I’ve been able to get out of Christian at all is that we will be spending Christmas wherever we’re going and I’d already gathered that much by the Christmas presents I’d seen in the cargo hold when I went to give my own luggage and packages to the flight crew. I suppose travelling together is a good way to eliminate choosing one set of parents over the other to spend the holiday with, but I my excitement over this trip is slightly dampened when I think about the fact that staying in a hotel room means we probably won’t have a tree on Christmas morning. Still, we’ll all be together and I suppose, in the end, that’s what matters.

“Are we at least going somewhere it could snow?” I ask, turning away from the useless view out the window to Christian, who has been reading some new contract in the seat next to me for most of the flight.

“Does it snow in the Bahamas this time of year?” He asks, looking up at the seat in front of him as though he really isn’t sure of the answer.

“The Bahamas?” I repeat excitedly. “We’re spending Christmas on the beach?”

“No.” He shakes his head. “I’m just curious about global weather patterns.”

“Christian!” I whine, but it doesn’t do any good. He simply lifts my hand to his lips and kisses each of my fingers individually.

“We’ll be there in a little over an hour,” he says.

I pout and let out a harsh huff through my nose before turning to stare sulkily out the window again, making a mental note to plan something secret for him sometime over this break so that I can hold it over him. See how Mr. Control Freak deals with not knowing what’s going to happen next.

Soon, the sun begins to sink below the horizon and everything out the window becomes shrouded in the night. I can vaguely make out the a glow of city lights in the distance, but without any significant landmarks, I can’t distinguish which city it actually is. There is snow though, so I at least know we’re not in the Bahamas.

Once we land, we find three cars waiting for us on the tarmac and I feel a rush of excitement as I look at the European license plates mounted on the front bumper of each vehicle. If I knew more about how European licensing worked, I could probably distinguish which country I was in, but I don’t, and Christian hurries me into the backseat of the Mercedes town car closest to us before I get a chance to examine them too closely.

“Alone at last,” he whispers as everyone piles into the cars behind us and the flight crew begins loading our luggage and presents into the trunk. I want to point out that there’s technically a driver in the car, but he reaches into my hair and pulls me to him so that he can claim my lips with his, and continues to kiss me even after the car pulls away from the airport. There’s something deliciously sensual about this kiss that has me completely enraptured. It’s not fiery and passionate, or filled with the pent up longing from spending so much time apart, which has become the norm over the past few months. It’s soft and sweet, an expression of love, and, as I enjoy the soft touch of his fingers in my hair and his tongue entwining slowly with mine, I let go of the apprehension I feel about the unknown parts of this trip and just let myself melt into him.

“I want this to be the most amazing week of our lives,” he whispers against my lips. “I love you, and I’m proud of you and how hard you work. I want you to show you that. This week, I want to forget about everything that’s gone wrong back home and just celebrate you.”

“Celebrate us,” I correct him. “I love you too, Christian, so much and I don’t know what I could have ever done to deserve you. Just sitting here next to you, having you look at me the way you are right now, makes me the luckiest girl in the entire world.”

The right corner of his mouth ticks up into a half smile and he leans over and kisses me again, deeper this time, and it’s enough now to ignite the heat between us, but just as I begin clawing at his clothes in a desperate attempt to get as close to him as possible, he stops and nods through the front window.

“We’re here,” he whispers. “Look.”

I turn in the direction of his gesture, and, as the dark outlines of trees along the sides of the highway begin to thin and we turn the corner to see brightly illuminated skyline of the city, I immediately catch sight of the iconic pointed structure glittering on the far right of the panoramic cityscape.

“Oh my god,” I whisper. “It’s the Eiffel Tower. We’re in Paris?”

“We’re in Paris,” he confirms, entwining his fingers in mine as I begin to bounce up and down in my seat, feeling the intoxicating mixture of excitement and impatient anticipation coursing through me. Over the past few years, Christian has taken me to the most amazing places, but this… Christmas in the city of love? It’s like a dream come true.

When we get to our hotel, two men in crisp white shirts, black vests, and black ties rush to the car to open the door for us, and, as Christian takes my hand to help me out of the car, I look up at the awnings over the stone archways, which tell me that we’re at the Ritz.

“Bonsoir, Monsieur Grey, bienvenue au Ritz Paris,” one of the men in suits greets us.

“Je vous remercie, on est très content d’être ici,” Christian replies, in perfect French. “Les valises dans cette voiture doivent étre apportées à ma suite. Ma famille est dans les voitures de derrière et les leurs devraient se garder séparamment, mais soyez certain que tous les cadeaux de tous les trois véhicules arrivent à la même suite. L’arbre est-il bien installé dans la suite?”

“Oui, Monsieur.”

“Bien.” Christian reaches into his wallet and pulls out one hundred euros and, as he graciously accepts the tip, the bellhop turns to me.

“Bienvenue à Paris, Nous sommes à votre service.”

“Uh…” I reply, feeling slightly awkward as I have no idea what he just said.

“Merci,” Christian says for me, and after the bellhop nods, he pulls against my hand and leads me beneath the covered entryway and through the gilded front doors.

The lobby is pure, classic French opulence and as we all glance around, I realize I’m not the only one taken by the grandeur of it all. Even Christian’s family, who are all used to luxurious accommodations, look floored by the intricate marble floors, the chandeliers sparkling from the ceiling, and the grand staircase covered in red and gold embroidered carpet and winding it’s way to the second floor.

“Oh, Ana…” My mother breathes. “This place is amazing.”

“Of course it is,” Gia interjects. “It’s the most expensive hotel in Paris.”

“Only the best for the girl I love,” Christian says, leaning over to kiss my hair. My mom smiles at us and then hurries forward to the front desk with Grace and Carrick. Gia gives us a sideways glance, but when I catch her looking at us, she simply smiles back at me, entwines her fingers with Elliot’s, and turns away.

It takes a while for everyone to get checked in but once we all have keys to our rooms, we coordinate dinner plans and then head our separate ways towards our rooms. Christian and I are escorted to our suite by a hotel employee and the moment I step through the doors, I’m nearly rendered speechless. Suite is a modest term for the room as it’s really a fairly sizable apartment. We enter through an opulent entry way, which flows seamlessly into a beautifully decorated sitting room with tall windows that overlook the gardens below and give us a fantastic view of the city. The ceilings in this room must be at least twenty feet high, which I’m only able to determine because of the enormous, twelve foot Christmas tree twinkling at us next to the fireplace. I feel as though I must be beaming at it as I gaze at the sparkling gold and silver ornaments and the ocean of presents I saw in the plane, which have already been neatly stacked beneath its branches. I don’t know how he does it, but Christian always manages to make everything perfect.

To the right of the sitting room is a bedroom that is done all in white and powder blue and has it’s own adjoining bathroom. I glance interestedly down at the bed and the half dozen silk covered pillows artfully arranged there, but Christian tells me that we won’t be sleeping in this room. When we make our way to the left side of the suite and see the second bedroom, I see why.

This room is quite possibly one of the most beautiful bedrooms I’ve ever seen in my life. Everything is gold or cream, and every surface contains a unique and intricate detail. The walls are dressed in paper, colored in a dark golden filigree pattern. The marble fireplace is hand carved and topped with candlesticks and a mirror that must be over seven feet tall. There is a crystal chandelier hanging over the gilded bed, which is so large I think it has to be custom made. It’s the kind of room I would expect to see on a tour of a palace and would discover that kings had once slept here, and as Christian comes up behind me and wraps his arms around my middle, I find that I’m not far off.

“It’s a replica of Marie Antoinette’s bedroom,” he explains. “Everything is exactly the same, down to the last detail… well, except maybe the alarm clock on the beside table.”   

“It’s gorgeous,” I marvel. “Seriously… I don’t even want to leave. Can’t we have dinner here tonight? There’s plenty of room for everyone in the sitting room and I’m sure this hotel has room service. We could have a night in with the family and then come in here and you can make love to me again and again and again…” My voice trails off as I feel him begin to nuzzle my neck softly, but he doesn’t move forward towards the bed or begin exploring my body with his hands.

“I promise you, Anastasia, you and I will indeed push this bed to the limits of its structural integrity,” he says, turning me so that I’m facing him. “But I didn’t bring you almost 5,000 miles away from home to stay in the hotel room. I want to show you Paris and I have reservations tonight at three star Michelin restaurant.”

“So you plan to wine and dine me before you bed me?” I ask, tilting my head all the way back to see into his eyes.

“You have to have dinner before you can have dessert.”

“Not if you break the rules,” I whisper against his lips. “Let’s break the rules.”

He leans forward and kisses me, his tongue immediately invading my mouth and tangling with mine, but I’ve only just wrapped my arms around his neck when we hear a knock on the door.

“Get dressed for dinner,” he says. “We’ll pick up right here when we get back.”

I sigh and nod, then hold onto his hand as long as possible as he leaves to answer the door. When I’m alone, I move to the back of the suite where there is a closet too large for a hotel room, and am unsurprised to find it already full of clothes for the two of us. A smile crosses my lips as I lazily drag my fingers over the sleeves of the amazing couture hanging on my side. He’s put so much thought into every detail this weekend and as I see the proof of that all around me, I feel almost a little overwhelmed by the love I feel behind every gesture. It’s not just the couture or the fancy hotel room, it’s not even Paris. It’s the little things. It’s being sure to invite my parents along on a family vacation because we should be spending Christmas together. It’s remembering my doctor’s appointment this morning and rescheduling it for me so that I didn’t have to wait to know the gender of our baby. It’s the words he said to me in the car and every kiss we’ve shared since we’ve been reunited. The proof that he truly, truly loves me, the same way I love him, and all I want out of this week and the rest of the time I have with him before school starts again is to just pause and appreciate what we have together, right now, before this precious little girl that we’ve made together comes into the world and changes our lives forever.

 

For dinner I pick a fairly short black dress with long sleeves covered in an intricate beaded design that has an Asian inspired feel, knowing the days I can get away with a dress like this are numbered. It’s a little cold out for how short the dress is though, so I pair it with the thigh high leather boots I find tucked in the long box on the closet floor. There’s a mirror on the back wall of the closet that I use to examine the outfit I’ve put together and my first thought is that it’s a little much, but Christian said we’re going to a three star Michelin restaurant, and we are in Paris, the fashion capital of the world. I don’t know if it’s possible to over dress. My only hope is that I’m decent enough at hair and makeup to look like I belong in these clothes, and as I make my way back into the bathroom to finish getting ready, I realize how much I really wish Kate were here instead of Gia. Not only would I feel more comfortable with my best friend around, but she’d be willing to come up here and make me gorgeous before dinner.

When I’m finally ready, lamenting my adequate though less than perfect makeup and hair choices, I pick up the black military trench from the chair by the door and join Christian in the sitting room. He’s pacing back and forth in front of the Christmas tree, holding his phone to his ear and catching up on the things he’s missed at GEH over the last few days. But, once he sees me, he stops in his tracks.

“Thank you, Ros,” he says, not taking his eyes off me. “Have the revised contracts faxed to my hotel. I’ll sign and send them back in the morning.”

“Do you like it?” I ask, twirling a little as he slowly lowers his phone.

“Like it?” He repeats incredulously. “Fuck dinner, get your ass back in that bedroom.”

“Sorry,” I say coyly, “But I actually am a little hungry now. I am eating for two after all.” I wait for his responding chuckle, but it doesn’t come. His eyes continue to rake hungrily over me, and, just before moving forward to close the distance between us, he drags his tongue over his bottom lip.

“You have no idea how incredible you look right now, do you?” He asks.

“You don’t think it’s too much for dinner?”

“Yes. Yes, I think it’s far too much. Take it all off, right now.”

“Christian!” I exclaim, pushing him playfully, but he simply captures my wrist and drapes it over his shoulder, pulling me into him so that he can attack my mouth with his. I push myself into the kiss, letting the desire I feel pour into him, until I feel his fingers begin to play with the hem only a few inches below my behind.

“Our family is waiting for us,” I protest. “We’re going to be late and you know how cranky Elliot gets when he’s hungry.”

“Our family,” he repeats, clearly pleased by the words. He pulls back a little to glance over me once more, and when he looks back up at me, he gives me sly, half-smile. “I’d like to do something tonight, something we’ve done before and that resulted in an afternoon I still often think about to this day.”

“What?” I ask. He reaches into the pocket on the inside of his dinner jacket and pulls out a black box, like a jewelry box, but much bigger. I think through the things we’ve done in the past to try and figure out what’s inside, but I nothing comes to mind until he pulls back the hinged lid and I see the silver balls I wore on the yacht last year for his birthday. Most of that day is a blur or lost in a haze of memories I’ve purposefully tried to forget, but the uncontrollable desire I felt burning through me as I felt those balls pull and shift inside of me is something I remember vividly, as if it happened yesterday.

“Do you think you can handle it?” He taunts me, but I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I couldn’t last time. I’d practically dragged him to bed with me after only having them in for an hour, and then I threw myself shamelessly at him once I’d gotten him alone. I’m already fighting the pregnancy hormones that make my mouth water just smelling him, this might be asking for disaster. But there’s a challenge in his voice that’s hard to resist, and a reward that might just be more than worth the suffering.

“Yes,” I whisper.

“Good. Turn around.”

I bite down on my lip and then turn away from him, bending at the waist and holding onto the ankles of my boots when I feel his hand press lightly on my upper back. There’s a low sucking sound behind me as he puts the balls in his mouth to lubricate them, and when he kneels down behind me and swipes my panties to the side with his index finger, I clench as I feel the cool metal press against my lips.

“Easy, baby,” he says. His hand moves down my behind so that his thumb can reach my clitoris, and the contact makes my muscles relax so that he can push the balls inside of me. His fingers linger against me for a moment and, once I begin to moan, he leans forward and traces his tongue over me until I become so lost in the sensation that it becomes too difficult for me to hold myself up in my heels. He moves my panties back over me before helping me straighten myself again, and while I’m adjusting my dress, I feel the weight of the balls inside me and have to clench to keep them in place.

“Don’t take those boots off,” he says, smiling at me as he watches me struggle to adjust to the balls. “I want them wrapped around me later.”

“Yes, Sir,” I whisper back, and he groans.

“Let’s go,” he says. “While I can still force myself to leave.”

Getting downstairs is a challenge all in itself thanks to the silver balls, but I’m pleased to find that I’m not the only one who took the opportunity to dress up. Mia is wearing a tight jumpsuit with a bodice that’s open from her neck to her navel, which I can tell makes both Christian and Elliot slightly uncomfortable, and Gia is dressed in head to toe leather. Even my mom and Grace come down the stairs in glittering cocktail dresses, their arms draped over their very dapper looking husbands’ elbows.

The city lights around us are absolutely breathtaking but, as we drive through the light snow flurries on our way to dinner, I don’t know what’s more distracting, the world famous architecture all around me or Christian’s fingers slowly creeping up my thigh. He leans over to kiss my neck and I feel it resonate between my legs. Each time his lips press into me or his fingers graze my skin, deep, carnal desire spikes within me, and I know the silver balls are to blame. They’re not uncomfortable, but I am constantly aware of their presence, and focusing on holding them in place and the feel of them shifting around inside of me with each little movement of my body quickly has me regretting my decision to wear them tonight.

Why did I let him take me out of that hotel suite? I could have struggled.

We’re seated immediately once we get to the restaurant and once Christian has pulled my chair out for me and I’ve settled down at the table, he takes his seat on my left and immediately returns his hand the little bare skin there is between the top of my boot and my panties under my dress. I sit up straighter and try to cover the blush his feather soft touch brings out of me, but no one seems to notice as we’re all being handed menus. Unfortunately, everything written on the card in my hands is in French, so I can’t use it as a distraction and I have to let Christian order for me.

“Shall I order wine for the table?” Christian asks everyone.

“Yes, I’m afraid you and Mia might be the only ones who can order,” Grace says, shaking her head slightly as she sets down the menu. “It seems I should have taken French with the two of you.”

“I’m still going to say Spanish was more valuable,” Elliot says. “Christian might be able to order wine in a Michelin restaurant in Paris, but I could order us a bucket of beers and a round of margaritas in Cabo and, let’s be honest, which sounds more fun?”

“Wine,” I sigh.

“Well, it looks like water for the both of us. Right, Ana?” Gia asks, winking at me, and I smile back at her, praying it’s not the grimace I think it is.

“You’re not even going to cheat in Paris, Gia?” Christian asks. “We’re on vacation. Surely, you won’t let this amazing bread go to waste.”

“Christian!” She exclaims, her voice brightening as she reaches across the table to brush her fingers over his forearm. “You’re supposed to be my fellow health nut. I thought we were in this together and now you’re saying you’re going to abandon me for gluten?”

“I’m afraid I am,” he says, and when she shakes her head with disappointment and pretends to wipe away a tear, he laughs and then tightens his hand on my thigh. I glance down at his wrist, which is the only thing I can see as his hand is under my dress, and, for the first time since we’ve sat down, I feel uncomfortable.

Is he flirting with Gia while feeling me up?

I shake my head. Of course he’s not flirting with Gia. Christian wouldn’t flirt with another girl right in front of me, especially not his brother’s girlfriend. It’s the balls again, making everything sexual, and maybe a little bit of me projecting the blame for Kate’s pain onto this girl, who is admittedly a little hard to handle and who can be kind of rude sometimes, but who hasn’t really done anything wrong other than date my best friend’s ex-boyfriend. Normally, that would be a free pass to hate her, but it’s all the more complicated that her ex-boyfriend just happens to be one of the people closest to Christian, and the only thing that has made Elliot happy in months is this pair of legs with blonde hair.

“I can have wine with dinner, can’t I?” Mia asks, distracting me, and Grace narrows her eyes at her as she mulls it over, but eventually nods.

“One glass,” she says, but as Mia celebrates, I brush Christian’s hand off my leg and push my chair away from the table.

“Where are you going?” He asks.

“The bathroom,” I tell him. “It’s been forty-five minutes, and your daughter has decreed it’s time for me to go again.”

“Well, if my daughter says…” Christian smiles up at me, and I nod before turning for the bathroom.

I want to splash cold water on my face and try to get a grip on myself while I try to rationalize this less than favorable reaction I seem to be having towards Gia. I don’t know why I’m having this strong of a reaction and, if she’s  going to be around, I don’t want to feel this way towards her. I don’t need that kind of animosity in my life. I stare up in the mirror and, as I force myself to be honest with what I’m feeling, I realize that I’m a little threatened by her. She’s beautiful, perfect even. Enough that I don’t think I could have competed with her on my best day, and I won’t see a best day again for a long time. I’m growing rounder by the day, while she remains flawless. While Christian remains flawless. It was hard enough not feeling insecure beneath the perfection of Christian’s body when I was thin myself, but I’m terrified that once this pregnancy is no longer just a small, hardly noticeable bump, he won’t look at me in the same way anymore. My body is going to change forever after this. Is Christian still going to want me the same way after I have this baby?

I shake my head to try and dispel the troubling though and focus on his reaction to me coming out of our room tonight. He knows I’m pregnant and even though it’s not out of control yet, it’s still noticeable, and he’s lusting after me anyway. He said before that he’ll find me just as desirable when I’m nine months pregnant as he did before, and he hasn’t given me any indication that wasn’t true. I need to trust him, trust in the love he’s constantly showing me over and over again. Nothing could come between that. Not even little miss perfect.

I decide that the sex haze that’s been clouding my mind since Christian put the silver balls inside of me is messing with my good judgement, so I make my way towards one of the bathroom stalls to remove them, but am stopped with the door opens behind me.

“Ana?” A voice says, and I look over my shoulder to see Gia stepping through the bathroom door.

“Hey,” I reply, forcing myself to smile as I shift back to the sink the sink and turn on the water to wash my hands.

“That Balmain is amazing on you,” she says. “Seriously, you can’t even tell that you’re pregnant.”

“Uh… thanks,” I say awkwardly, looking down at my dress and trying to accept the compliment rather than assume it’s some backhanded insult.

“I thought, maybe… we should talk,” she says. “And I should apologize. I said things last night that were uncalled for. It’s difficult for me with… Kate. Elliot has her kind of pedestal and it feels like I’m never going to measure up, you know? I have a hard time dealing with that and sometimes it brings out a side of me that I’m not really proud of. But I really like Elliot, and I like his family. You’re apart of that too, and I want us to be friends.”

“Yeah,” I agree. “I want us to be friends too. I can see the difference in Elliot since he’s met you and that makes me glad that he has you in his life. But so we’re clear, Kate’s my best friend, more than that, she’s practically my sister, so I will always defend her.”

“I know, and that’s fair. You’re a good friend. I respect that. Maybe it’s best, we just don’t talk about her.”

“I can live with that,” I agree.

“Good. Then, friends?”

“Of course.” She smiles her flawless, eye catching smile and holds her arms open to hug me. I hug her back, but, despite her warm and perfectly friendly demeanor, something in this hug seems cold.

“I’d better get back out there,” I say, pushing away from her. “Christian will worry if I’m gone to long.”

“He’s really an amazing man,” she says, and my lips pull together in a tight smile.

“Yeah.” I step towards the door as she moves around me for the bathroom stall, but before I push my way back into the restaurant, I pause and turn back to face her.

“You know that Elliot doesn’t want to get married, right?” I ask her. “He doesn’t want a wedding and he doesn’t want kids. Ever.”

She stops and the friendliness in her face falters slightly. “Sometimes we don’t really know what we want until it’s happened,” she says. “Sometimes, it’s not about what you’ve planned or what you think makes you happy because, in reality, you just hadn’t met the right person yet. A person who can change you. Who’s perfect for you. Sometimes we make decisions because we don’t know that we’re settling for something less than we deserve.”

“I don’t think that’s how Elliot feels,” I warn her. “I know that’s not how Elliot feels.”

“Things change, Ana. Things change for everyone.” She turns and closes the bathroom door behind her and once again, I feel an overpowering negative reaction to what she’s said. For some reason, everytime she talks I feel like she’s using some kind of doublespeak to hide what she really means, like a politician, and it has my protective side on alert. But I don’t know if that’s what’s really happening so I don’t know if I should say something to Elliot about it and risk starting something that could be damaging to his relationship with me, with Christian, or if I should chalk it up to paranoia and insecurity making me react to things that aren’t really there. As I make my way back through the restaurant, I’m still unable to decide which it is.

When I get back to the table, I find both Carrick and Grace are missing, and Christian, Elliot, and Mia are all staring intently at the main doors as though they’re waiting for an a-list celebrity to walk in.

“Where’re your parents?” I ask as I take a seat next to Christian.

“Outside,” he replies, not taking his eyes off the door. “Dad has to check in daily with his doctor for any UNOS updates.”

“So no word yet on a transplant?”

“Not yet.”

I frown as I too look over at the door, unsure if I want to rehash this argument again. “Christian… I should get tested.”

“No.” He shakes his head. “It’s not going to be you.”

“It could be.”

“Honey, you know what you’re saying, don’t you?” My mom interjects. “You couldn’t possibly…”

“Mom,” I say, cutting her off before she can finish, but Christian nods his head in agreement.

“Ana, you’re pregnant. You can’t undergo a live organ transplant surgery without putting both yourself and our baby at serious risk.”

“For five more months,” I argue. “If I’m a match then once I give birth…”

“He doesn’t have five months,” Christian interrupts and the bite in his voice makes me fall silent. I’d forgotten the timelines, six months without treatment. We’re almost through the first month and he hasn’t been able to have any chemo yet because we’re still waiting on the transplant. Christian’s right, I can’t help, but I hate not knowing if I’m a viable candidate. Seeing him, seeing all the Greys going through this and feeling powerless to do anything has kept me up over countless nights. Getting the test and knowing for sure that I wasn’t a match would alleviate some of the guilt I feel being the only one who hasn’t offered to donate… but then, if I was a match and still couldn’t undergo the surgery, I don’t know if I could live with that either and I know that’s why Christian won’t even let me try.

“Gia offered to get tested,” Elliot says, and Christian, Mia, and I simultaneously snap out of the nearly trance like state we’re in staring at the door, waiting, and turn to him

“What?” I ask, sure I must have heard him incorrectly. “She… she… what?”

“You two have only been dating a month,” Christian says.

“I know,” Elliot replies. “I told her she was being crazy, but she offered and it’s… it’s Dad.”

“She knows that this is serious, right?” I check. “This isn’t botox or lip fillers, this is major, life threatening surgery. She’ll be under anesthesia, she’ll have weeks of recovery… there could be complications, she’ll be giving up a piece of a vital organ. She’s willing to go through all of that for a guy she’s been dating a month? Not even for you, for your dad. Someone who is essentially a stranger.”

“I don’t know,” Elliot says. “It was the night we found out that none of us were viable candidates. I nearly had a breakdown in the car and she… offered. I don’t know if she was serious, I told her no, but… the window is closing. What if she could save Dad?”

Christian hesitates a moment, staring back at Elliot as though he’s actually swayed by his words. As though he’s actually considering it…

“No,” I interject. “I’m sorry, but no. Does no one else see how crazy this is?”

“How crazy what is?” Gia asks as she retakes her seat next to Elliot.

“Nothing,” he says, reaching over for her hand and smiling innocently at her. “Just that… we’re here. In Paris.”

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” She asks, and Elliot nods before leaning into kiss her. Christian and I glance uneasily at each other, but I don’t know if we’re thinking the same thing. He couldn’t really be considering this as an option… could he?

The door to the restaurant opens, Carrick and Grace re-enter, and we all deflate as we see the slightly disappointed look on their faces as they approach the table.

“No luck?” Elliot checks, and Carrick shakes his head but puts on a smile.

“Soon,” he reassures us. “It’s going to happen soon.”

“Yes,” my mother agrees. “Yes it is.”

Carrick reaches over and places his hand on her shoulder, a gesture of gratitude, and then turns to me to change the subject. We talk about school and my nerves about coming up on my last semester, but no one around the table seems to be able to truly relax until our food comes out and we’re distracted, not only by the decadent french cuisine, but the amazing presentation. It’s not only delicious, it’s beautiful, and as we being to eat, everyone’s moods perk up and the conversation flows towards easier topics.

Elliot is really the savior of the evening, his sense of humor setting the mood for the rest of the night. He tells us some of his latest stories from some of the job sites he’s been on, and while I’m glad for the lightened atmosphere, each time I break down into laughter, I’m immediately reminded of the silver balls I never actually removed. Once, I even let out an audible gasp as I feel them move inside of me, and Christian gives me a overly pleased sideways glance before returning his hand to my thigh and sliding it up under my dress. I clench my thighs together, trying to tame the growing desire building between my legs and to stop his hand from going any further, but it’s too late. The night of pent up frustration has me too far gone and, once I’m sure everyone is engrossed in their dinners and in Elliot’s story, I open my legs and allow Christian’s fingers to touch me over my panties.

“Should we order dessert?” Grace asks, once everyone’s finished eating. “It’s getting a little late.”

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly,” my mother replies. She places her napkin on her plate to signal she can’t eat another bite, and then turns towards Grace and Carrick. “I’d love to take a walk to work off some of this food and maybe see a little of the city.”

“The Arc de Triomphe is just a few blocks away from here,” Mia says, looking down at her phone. “It’s really beautiful when it’s all lit up at night.”

“Well then, let’s go see it,” Carrick suggests, but as everyone nods in agreement, Christian simply tightens his hand around my leg and looks regretfully around at his family.

“You should all go,” he says. “But it’s been a long day and I think Ana’s tired.”

“Tired,” I agree immediately. “Yeah. Pregnancy, you know how it is.”

“But you’ll miss the sights!” Mia says.

“We’ll see it,” Christian assures her. “I wouldn’t let Ana miss any of the city.”

“Okay,” Grace agrees, reluctantly, “but we must explore the city as a family in the morning. I want us to make the most amazing memories on this trip. Together.

“Of course,” Christian agrees. He slips cash into the book the waiter has left to pay the tab and then everyone pushes away from the table. We hug each of them good-bye, Elliot giving Christian and I a knowing smile to show that we’re not fooling him at all, and then wait as they begin making their way down the block before we hurry into the backseat of the waiting car.

The moment Christian has given the driver instructions and we’ve pulled out onto the street, he nearly attacks me. His tongue finds its way into my mouth while his hand slides under my dress again. I wait for him to pull my panties to the side and maybe replace the balls inside of me with his fingers, but he doesn’t. Instead, he simply presses his fingers repeatedly against the lace still firmly in place between my legs, and while I initially want to protest, the words are cut off by a low moan. Each quick beat of pressure moves the balls back and forth inside of me, and that sensation, along with his touch over my clitoris and a night of anticipation has me sprinting quickly towards an orgasm.

“Oh my god,” I whisper so quietly into his ear that my voice is only a breath.

“You’re so wet,” he says. “I can feel it through your panties.” I bite down on my lip to hold back a small whimper as the sensation increases. “I can’t wait to feel it on my tongue,” he continues, and his words are nearly my undoing.

Unfortunately, just before his expert touch sends me tumbling over the edge, the car stops in front of our hotel and the doormen begin rushing towards the car. Christian quickly tugs my dress back down, and then takes my hand, helping me out of the car and offering the men in suits welcoming us back to The Ritz gratitude before leading me back inside.

He wastes no time practically dragging me across the lobby and up the stairs towards our room. Our suite has a hallway all to its own and once we’ve made it around the corner, I find myself pushed back into the wall where Christian’s lips find mine and his body envelops me. We begin fumbling blindly along the wall towards the suite, unwilling to break apart even to take the few steps down the hallway to get to the door. When we finally do get there, I reach into the pocket of Christian’s dinner jacket for the key to the room and feel along his arm to place it into his hand without ever breaking our kiss. He presses me into the door, his teeth sinking into my bottom lip and tugging gently as he struggles with the lock.

Once the door is opened, I nearly fall backwards into the room, but Christian’s arms tighten around me, keeping my body flush against his. He slams the door closed behind us, lets the key fall to the ground, and his hands reach for my  hips and lift me so that my legs wrap around his waist while he carries me into the entryway. We don’t make it to the bedroom though though, not even close. There’s a table against the wall on the left of the foyer that he practically throws me onto before I wrap my fingers in his jacket and pull him back to me, wrapping my legs around him before claiming his lips once more.

Our synchronized breathing is loud as our hands fly uninhibitedly over each other. I pull his jacket from his shoulders and down his arms, letting it fall carelessly to the floor before working on his tie and the buttons on his shirt. He reaches around to pull at the zipper on the back of my dress, exposing just enough skin for his lips to move down my neck and for his teeth to sink into my bare shoulder. I hiss, the sharp flash of pain further heightening my arousal, and then give up on undressing him properly. Gripping onto the part of his shirt I’ve already managed to open, I yank each side, hard, until I’ve completely unveiled him and the floor around us is covered in tiny plastic buttons.

“Fuck baby,” he groans as my hands move down to his belt.

“Fuck me right here, Christian,” I pant into his mouth. After I’ve undone the metal fastening in his belt and worked my way past the buttons and zipper of his pants, I reach inside to grip onto his rock hard erection, dragging my thumb over the tip where a bead of precum has already formed. He moans and tilts his head back, letting me work him over with my hand for a few seconds before glancing back down at me with a new fire blazing behind the gray in his eyes.

“I want to do so much more to you than I can right here,” he says. “I’m going to fuck you out of your goddamn mind.”

I gasp as he sweeps me into his arms again and then curl my body around him. His erection, now only partially contained by his Calvin Klein’s, presses into my panties and I squirm against it, picturing in my mind how easy it would be to simply slide down onto him here in his arms if it weren’t for the fabric barrier between us and the balls still taking up space inside of me. Why didn’t I take them out at the restaurant?

When we get to the bedroom, Christian lays me on the bed so that I’m on my hands and knees and then immediately kneels down on the mattress behind me. I feel his hand grab onto the hem on my dress and then roughly yank it upward while his other hand pulls my panties over my hips. In the next second, his hand comes down quick and sharp on my ass and the balls inside of me are jolted forward.

“Holy fuck!” I scream as the movement seems to electrify my already out of control need.

“Too much?” He checks, panting slightly.

“No. Spank me again.”

He does, over and over again. Each sting of his hand against my skin resonating in every cell of my body. I beg him for more and he complies eagerly. Heat rises in my flesh, burning, sending me spiraling down into the darkest depths of desire until I can’t take it anymore.

“Fuck me, Christian!” I nearly scream “Please!”

He leans over and kisses the hot skin, and then drags his tongue up the curve of my behind. His fingers reach between my legs, sinking inside of me for a brief second to pull on the black string connecting the silver balls, and, as they exit my body, I almost come.

“Not yet, baby.” Christian says, seeing the tremble in my thighs, and while I let out a small pouting noise, he rolls me over onto my back, moving me further onto the bed. He kisses me again and, while I reach up to cup each side of his face, I feel his hands move to my panties and begin to work them down my legs over my boots. I’m too anxious to let him fully undress me, so while he pulls my panties over my heels, I yank my dress up over my head and toss it to the side of the bed.

“What are you waiting for?” I pant, wondering why he’s just standing there staring at me.

“Your bra,” He whispers. “Take off your bra.”

I reach back for the clasp, fumbling for just a second in my haste to get it open, and then yank it off of me and toss it to the floor with my dress.

“Lie down,” he instructs me, and, as I do, he moves over to the second suitcase he brought with him but that the hotel staff didn’t unpack. I turn towards him, watching with interest as he unzips his bag and pulls out what, from here, looks like a leather strap.

“Open your legs.”

I give him a curious look as I pull my knees up and he climbs onto the bed.

“Wider,” he commands, and I obey.

The strip of leather in his hand is actually some kind of harness that I’m slightly confused by until he straps one of the loops at the end around my thigh, circles the long part of the strap around the back of my neck, and then secures the loop on that side around my other thigh. After he’s tightened everything, I try to extend my legs to test the amount of room I have to move, but they don’t budge, and I can’t close my legs. I’m held open, completely at his mercy.

He smiles before turning back for his suitcase and pulling out another set of restraints and a blindfold. Unfortunately, Ms. Antoinette’s bed is not ideal for tying someone to the headboard, so Christian has to get creative and instead attaches each of the wrist restraints to the legs on either side of the bed. Again, once the tie is secure, I attempt to pull against it, but it doesn’t move.

I glance up at him as he moves back onto the bed over me and then lowers the blindfold to my face.

“But I want to see you,” I protest.

“I don’t want you to be able to anticipate what I’m going to do to you,” he says. “I just want to you feel.” He slips the blindfold over my eyes, and once I’m shrouded in darkness, I can do nothing but wait. I can at least feel him moving on the bed on top of me, but when he touches me, I still find myself unprepared.

“Mmm,” I moan as his tongue rolls over the nipple on my right breast. He teases me this way for a moment, using his lips and teeth in conjunction with his tongue, and while I writhe under his expert ministrations, his hand slides softly over the swoop of my other breast, down the curve in my stomach, and over my hip bones, leaving a trail of goosebumps in his wake. I tilt my pelvis up to him, trying to guide his fingers to where I need them most, but he doesn’t need my help. There’s no preamble before they slide inside of me and begins swirling around, pumping in and out, bringing me right back to where I was as he yanked the silver balls out of me.

“Oh god, yes,” I hiss, doing everything I can to push back against his fingers. It doesn’t do much as I can’t move, but the movement of my hips seems to do something to Christian because I hear his low groan and soon his mouth is gone from my breast and his tongue is tracing the line of my hip bone.

“You’re so sexy, Anastasia,” he whispers into my skin. “I don’t know if you could understand the hold your body has over me. I want you so much.”

“Then take me,” I plead. “Please, Christian. I need you.”

“Soon, baby. Soon. I want to make you come like this first.” He pushes his fingers inside of me again, but instead of continuing to pump them in and out, he curls them forward, stroking the front wall of my vagina until I cry out and my legs begin to tremble. His free hand comes up to rest just above my pubic bone and when he pushes down ever so slightly, pressing into the fingers already inside of me, the trembling rocking through my body turns into the true quivers of an orgasm and I have to close my fists around the ties connecting me to the bed so I don’t start thrashing away from him.

“That’s it, Ana. God damn, you’re so fucking sexy when you come,” Christian growls, and suddenly his fingers are gone, replaced immediately by his mouth. I feel his tongue thrust inside of me, and it sends a whole new spike of pleasure coursing through me. His mouth presses into me, sucking and pulling, manipulating my clitoris with the movement of his lips while he fucks me with his tongue. It’s so intense, I don’t think I’ll ever come down, but eventually I do and he immediately moves up my body, grips tightly to my chin, and pulls my lips apart so he can force his tongue into my mouth.

I moan as I taste my arousal on him and then suck lightly on his tongue when he tries to pull away. It entices him to elongate our kiss until he can’t take it anymore and I feel his erection pressing against my still quivering clitoris.  

“I love it when you’re this wet for me,” he says, his voice nearly awed as he slides his erection over me, coating himself in my arousal. “Do you have any idea how good you look right now? Tied up and needy. I’ve fantasized about you like this for weeks.”

“Then fuck me, Christian,” I moan.

“Like this?” He pushes inside of me slowly, too slowly, leaning over me and inching his way forward until I’m completely full of him, and then easing his way back out.

“No,” I pout. “Fuck me, Christian. I want it hard. I want you to rip me apart.”

“Oh, like this…” His voice is amused but I don’t have time to be irritated with him because he suddenly slams forward, burying himself into me as deeply as he can before pulling back and taking me just as roughly again.

“Yes,” I hiss. “Oh god, yes!”

His pace is relentless, arrhythmic, never allowing me to predict what he’s going to do, and it keeps me right at the edge, building and building so quickly tears begin pooling in the corners of my eyes.

“My hands,” I groan, pulling against my restraints. “Give me back my hands. I want to touch you, Christian. I need to touch you.”

He never falters in his stride as he reaches up to my wrists and deftly unbuckled the cuffs that have me restrained. The moment I’m free, I engulf him in my arms and he moans at the feel of more skin on skin contact.

“You feel so fucking good, Ana,” he groans as he reaches down to begin circling my clitoris with his thumb. “I can’t get enough of you.”

“Don’t,” I reply, sounding entirely too needy. “Don’t ever stop.”

“Never,” he replies. “I love you.”

His free hand tightens around my side, just below my breast, as he continues to pummel into me. I can feel sweat begin to bead up through my skin while I pant from the exertion of taking his punishing rhythm. His own breathing is laced with pleasure filled gasps and moans, the occasional fuck slipping through whenever his unpredictable thrusts slam into my g-spot, making my walls clamp tightly around him. The heat builds between us, his own body now becoming slick with sweat, and the pheromones radiating off of him invigorate my already heightened senses, pushing me right to the edge. My entire body begins to shake as I approach the point of no return and I know, by the rolling pleasure already radiating from my core to my fingertips, that the power behind this orgasm has the potential to rip me in two.

“Fu-ck,” I manage to say between pants. “I’m gonn-a, I’m gonna… oh fuck, Christian. I’m gonna come.”

He groans and then presses down into me, his teeth sinking into the conjunction of my neck and shoulder, and as I scream at the fusion of pain and pleasure, he thrusts against the perfect place inside of me, and I unravel beneath him. My body practically convulses as shockwave after shockwave of blinding ecstasy rolls through me, and Christian never lets up. I know he can feel it, I can hear the change in his breathing every time I clamp down around him, but he continues on as though he’s still trying to get me to the point release. I tighten my grip around him, clawing into his back as I attempt to anchor myself to earth, and it elicits a loud, dark growl from deep in his chest.

“Fuck, baby…” I pant as I finally spiral my way back down, but still he continues.

“Again, Ana. I want it again. Come for me again.”

“Wh-what?”

“Again!” He practically shouts, and I cry out as I feel him slam forward once more. The aftershocks of my orgasm are still pulsing through me, overwhelming me, but somehow also pulling me right back to the edge, fueled by the authoritative ring in Christian’s voice.

“I-I can’t,” I tell him, my voice quivering as the pulsing heat flames through my blood. “Christian, I can’t!”

“Yes you can,” he growls back. “Give it up for me, Ana. Come for me again.”

I press my lips together and I try to squirm away from him, but it’s useless. His body is too heavy and I still can’t move my legs. He has me right where he wants me.

“Come on, baby,” he whispers. “Lose yourself in me. Let go.”

He kisses me again and I eagerly welcome his tongue into my mouth. I expect him to be dominant, assertive… possessive, but he isn’t. There’s a strange juxtaposition between the hard, demanding rhythm of this thrusts inside of me, and gentle loving way his lips move against mine. There’s connection here, and it gives me everything I need to do exactly as he’s asked. To lose myself in him. This is what I want, to be as close to him as human possible. To take the love I feel for him and transform it into something physical, something tactile, that we can both experience together in a form of pleasure unparalleled by anything else. The increasing heat between my legs responds to that, and soon, I’m climbing right back up to the precipice.

“Let go, baby,” Christian moans into my mouth. “Let me feel you.”

I whimper slightly as my body responds to his command. There’s no turning back now, so, with a silent prayer for my sanity, I relinquish what little control I have and let the overpowering sensation have me. It hits me with a force so powerful that my vision goes white for a split second and everything but the feel of Christian’s body pressing into mine is lost to the rapture. When I’m able to refocus and see the look of uninhibited pleasure on his face just before I feel the faint ripple of his release inside of me, I think that together, we might have found nirvana and now that we’ve reached it, I hope that we never find our way back.

Next Chapter

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